Look for “The Tell” if You Want to Know if a Man is Right for You

Before you fall in love with someone, here's how to make sure they're worthy of your heart.

No less than six friends of mine shared the recent New York Times article, To Fall in Love with Anyone, Do This. Apparently, you can make anyone fall in love with you if you simply share the answers to certain questions while looking into each other’s eyes. The New York Times reports that the essay went viral beyond their wildest expectations: read by approximately 8 million people and leading to a follow-up article listing the questions, an article about the impact of the article, and, of course, an app.

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I haven’t downloaded the app, but I read both articles and I’ve looked through the questions. I haven’t asked my husband of any of them though because I read the entire first article already knowing the answer to the most important question of them all: having to answer even one of these questions would distress him more than he could stand.

Answering the questions together would be fun for me and I’m sure it would be interesting to know the answers but I don’t need to do it to know I’ve got the right guy. I’ve already seen The Tell.

According to Wikipedia:

A tell in poker is a change in a player’s behavior or demeanor that is claimed by some to give clues to that player’s assessment of their hand. A player gains an advantage if they observe and understand the meaning of another player’s tell, particularly if the tell is unconscious and reliable.

In real life, the tell is the way a person behaves that shows you what kind of person they are. The tell is seeing how a person acts when they’ve had a bad day that has nothing to do with you. Or when they’ve had a bad day that has everything to do with you. When your kid behaves childishly. Again. When the two of you are lost on a trip.

The tell also reveals how they see you. They might give you their full attention during a fun game in the beginning of a relationship, but how close are they listening down the road? And can you trust them to use any information you reveal in a kind manner? A former relationship used to listen to the stories I told him oh-so-sympathetically and then use what I told him the next time we had an argument. “No wonder your boss thinks you can’t handle more responsibility! Look at the mess you’ve made here.!” Gee, thanks.

Maybe you can use the 36 questions to make yourself fall in love with someone. But you need to see someone handle the stresses of day-to-day life before you decide whether you want to fall in love with that person. You need to see how they’re going to treat you before you decide whether or not you should fall in love with them. Look for their tell.


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  1. June 29, 2016 / 6:56 am

    It may have been useful 40years ago but would I have listened? If my hormones liked his hormones, it didn’t matter whether he would make a suitable lifer partner or not! I guess that is why it took me three goes (and they are just the ones I married!) to find Mr. Right.

    • Katy
      June 29, 2016 / 9:41 am

      It’s good you kept trying Gilly. I read recently that having true love at midlife was the greatest predictor of happiness and it didn’t matter how long it took to find it – just mattered that eventually you did. It took me two tries myself 🙂

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